SMS may not blast your message to a wide audience like some more expensive forms of advertising, but it has one huge positive – the opt-in. Your audience chooses to receive your messages, meaning they’ve already invested in your product or brand, and you won’t waste your marketing effort on potential customers who aren’t interested. Once you’ve built your SMS opt-in list, then you know the audience you’re targeting is an audience that wants to be targeted. Opt-in keeps you compliant and gives you a built-in advantage. But SMS isn’t just a great tool for marketers, it’s also a fine lens through which to view the customer experience and, in particular, customer support.
Speedy & Spam Free
The list of advantages for using SMS over email for a holistic customer experience make it an obvious choice for business. Mobile users are close to their phone and primed to receive messages that they’ll open in seconds – if you don’t already know the statistics for SMS, it’s worth getting up to speed. What’s more, email is often negatively perceived as being all about spam and unasked for marketing that you can never seem to unsubscribe from, very unlike the simple ‘text STOP’ opt-out offered by SMS. And where consumers access their text messages instantly, they might only check email once or twice a day.
Keep text messages short with added value and your customers will enjoy the convenience and the lack of intrusion, and you’ll benefit from SMS’s speed and efficiency. Add a link to a funny video or a useful website, a poll or a questionnaire, and you’ll engage your customers in a more memorable customer service experience. And when you consider how cost effective SMS can be, and the power text messages give to already engaged customers, then you’ll appreciate the value proposition for any business, particularly a small one with a limited budget.
People Trust Text
Texting can take advantage of its ubiquitous reach – every mobile has native text, there are no apps to be downloaded – and text is still a trusted method of communication. That’s another of the benefits of building the client opt-in – you know your customers won’t treat your communication as spam and delete it immediately and that your message will have nearly a 5 times higher read rate than an email.
Better Customer Experience
It’s clear that if you want to target a marketing campaign with SMS, there are a number of in-built advantages over other marketing methods. However, increasingly the decision to purchase relies on many more factors than price. The entire customer experience, from first contact to feedback, now impacts on the buying process and SMS is tailor-made to support the USP of most small businesses – exceptional customer service.
While 66% of consumers in a Heywire business survey might have had their tongues firmly in their cheeks when they claimed they’d rather undergo a root canal than sit on the phone waiting for customer services to reply, for a small business, SMS allows for near instant response times that suit both your customers and your business.
Social Vs SMS
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that customers prefer to engage with your business via social media when it comes to customer services – they don’t. In fact, consumers generally use social media as an open channel to voice their complaints rather than their compliments, leveraging the power of their followers and the unmediated nature of social media.
SMS connects with your customers directly, making it a useful channel to take any complaints offline into a secure and private space where their concerns can be fully addressed. And with 89% of customers wanting to be given the SMS option, 47% say it would improve their customer satisfaction and 64% would always choose text over voice if that option was available according to one customer support survey.
Automation & 24/7 Support
It’s interesting that where marketers will steer clear of texting outside acceptable ‘office hours’, customer service is expected to be ‘always on’, providing round-the-clock support. Unless you can afford to pay your workforce through the night, automation is a sensible choice, ensuring that your customer receives a prompt reply, preferably outlining the steps you intend to take to contact them and when they’ll be taken.
There are some occasions when SMS may not always be the best route for customer services. If an issue needs troubleshooting or a customer is particularly upset and emotional, then the conversation will need to move beyond text messaging to phone contact. However, SMS remains the fastest and easiest way to reach out and respond to your customer’s initial query.
When Time is at a Premium
If you’re engaged in a service business, where no shows can be costly, SMS appointment and reservation reminders are a timely way to improve overall customer experience and fill those appointments or reservations that would otherwise remain empty. Why SMS? Because most customers open their text messages within 3 minutes where an email might only be picked up the next day and a voicemail not at all.
In a digital culture where engagement is rapid yet highly interactive and a customer will keep responding to you if you send a personalised text within 10 seconds of their initial response, SMS fits with the way that your customers want to communicate, whereas voicemail does not.
Flexible & Personal
SMS is a very personal method of communication that is ideally suited to customer service. Where email can seem lazy and automated phone responses uncaring, the mobile inbox communicates directly with the user, for whom the phone is often their go-to device. A text message can also be remarkably flexible – for example, you can send your customers handy tips on using their new product, ‘how to’ guides, issue resolution notification, shipping information, callbacks and more. Fast, agile and cost-effective, SMS delivers customer service the way your users prefer – and the customer is always right.
If you’re interested in exploring more about the ways you can use SMS for exceptional customer service contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss your business requirements.